The national government is an integral aspect of South Africa’s government, as it is the sphere which makes a whole lot of things happen in the country. You should be aware already that here, government is divided into National, Provincial and Local. However, the roles of national government in South Africa are very crucial and vast.
Roles Of National Government In South Africa
The responsibilities of the National Government in South Africa has been spelt out in the Constitution. Like others, the national government have a political and administrative arm, where laws and policies are created, and where government services are provided and laws implemented.
So, basically, the roles of national government in South Africa revolves around creating laws and setting policies for the nation. It is also saddled with the responsibility of providing services that are categorised under national competencies. An example of this has to do with the issuing of ID books.
National government in South Africa is constitutionally divided into 3 branches:
1. The Legislature
2. The Executive
3. The Judiciary.
1. The Legislature
Also known as Parliament, it is duly saddled with the responsibilities of making laws and policies for the country. They are also constitutionally equipped to hold the government accountable, and thus are very significant.
And just as it is available at the provincial legislatures and the local councils all around the country, the Parliament is made up of those elected as representatives by citizens of the country.
We can break this down to:
A. National Assembly
B. National Council of Provinces (these ones stands for the interests of provinces)
The major function of Parliament is located in the area of Law-making. Amidst the three spheres of national government in South Africa, this is the one the Constitution vested the legislative authority upon.
The National Assembly therefore, can consider and pass any legislation. They can amend and reject any legislation during sessions. The power conferred on the National Assembly can be expressed in the area of initiating and preparations of legislation.
The National Council of Provinces in South Africa also carries the authority to consider, pass, amend, propose amendments or reject any legislation before the council by its members who are elected to represent the people. They have the power to initiate or prepare legislation that is within the boundaries of functional area listed in Schedule 4 of the Constitution or other legislation referred to in section 76(3), except Money Bills
The Legislature is very powerful in the country because it represents the people (who runs into their millions). It is indeed the government by the people, as they are only expected to do what the people that elected them wants them to do.
2. Executive Arm
Consisting of the President and Cabinet, their particular job is to govern the country, making them a very pivotal arm in the affairs of South Africa. We can break this down to:
A. The President (who is the first citizen of the country)
C. Government departments
Let’s start with the Presidency, which is the executive manager of government. This is the apex of the government system, and is thus a very powerful one.
It is made up of eight political principals, led by the President of the country (an elected officer who is both the Head of State and Government). This follows by the Deputy President, the second citizen of the country. In Parliament, they act as the Leader of Government Business.
Then, we can talk about the Minister in The Presidency, The Minister in The Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, The Deputy Minister in The Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Two Deputy Ministers in The Presidency, as well as The Deputy Minister in The Presidency for State Security.
The President of South Africa is the Head of the Cabinet. Elected by the National Assembly, they function as the Head of State, and must lead South Africa as granted him or her by the country’s Constitution and the law, in the interest of national unity.
The President has the liberty to select his or her Deputy, but should be from among the members of the National Assembly. Their role is to assist the President in executing government responsibilities. Also, the President appoints the Ministers and Deputy Ministers, to serve in their different roles.
Also, the Constitution gives the President the liberty to choose any number of ministers from the members of the National Assembly. If he or she decides to appoint from outside the assembly, then it should not be more than two.
What comes to mind is the Courts. They simply upholds the laws in the land, and will ensure they won’t be tampered with. It must be that everyone, irrespective of who they are, must be under the boundaries of the law (in other words, no one should be above the law).
We can break this down to:
A. Constitutional Court
B. Supreme Court of Appeal
C. High courts
D. Magistrate courts
E. Specific matters (child justice courts; small claims courts; labour courts, and so on.)
When it comes to the judiciary, we will talk about the body of judges and magistrates that sit in the courts in the country. One of the beautiful things about them is that they are pretty independent when it comes to government.
The judiciary is only subject to the Constitution of the country, and they are saddled with the responsibility of interpreting the law. While independent from other arms of government in South Africa, it utilises as the basis of its interpretation the laws that were enacted by the South African Parliament.
Indeed, the roles of national government in South Africa are very crucial and vast and versatile, and are coordinated towards the progress of the whole country.